School responds after bullying horror

GYMPIE State High School Principal Anthony Lanskey has responded to the hospitalisation of Year 8 student Brian Birchall after the 12-year-old attempted suicide twice due to relentless bullying last week.

The youth was put under observation in Brisbane's Lady Cilento Hospital following the second instance of self-harming on Friday night.

He was discharged from Gympie Hospital after first self-harming on Tuesday night, before being re-admitted and transferred to Brisbane on Friday to be assessed by medical experts.

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Mr Lanskey said the school continues to place student safety as its "number one priority".

"We have a zero tolerance policy on bullying, violence and other forms of harassment," he said.

"We continue to provide significant internal and external support services for students.

"We're a registered school for the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence on March 16th.

"Bullying is a complicated issue for not only schools but the wider community.

"We want to continue to open the conversation on the best ways of addressing this issue now and in future."

Brian's older brother, Murray Benton, expressed his "honest disgust" with the school and the "general public health system" in a viral Facebook post.

"I truly believe from our experience, Gympie State High School has done nothing to support or protect their students and families against repetitive bullying and as a result my brother has been pushed to the point where he would rather turn to self harm appose (sic) to returning to school," he said.

"The last couple of days have absolutely shattered me."

VIEW: Mr Benton's Facebook post on his brother's bullying ordeal

 

Murray Benton with his brother Brian Birchall.
Murray Benton with his brother and bullying victim Brian Birchall. Contributed

Mr Lanskey said he couldn't comment on specific details pertaining to individual students, but the school would continue working to support Brian and his family.

"This young man requires support, and the priority at this time is for him to be well," he said.

"We have an open door policy, and we'll continue to provide extensive and ongoing support to the family, regardless of whether they return to school or not."

"Any instances of misconduct are dealt with under our responsible behaviour plan for students, which is developed in partnership with parents, families and the community.

"We endeavour to do anything and everything we can to help our kids be successful at school."

LINK: Gympie High's Responsible Behaviour Plan for Students

A spokeswoman from Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service said "the child has been supported by the public health system for a number of years" in an official statement.

Mr Benton blasted this statement on Facebook, describing it as "damage control".

If you need help, phone Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 or Lifeline on 131 114.